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When she was seven, Kaya said, “If I ever grow up and have my own bank account, the first thing I’m gonna buy is a Christmas tree and then Christmas tree ornaments.” She has a little pillow stuffed with pine needles that she hangs from her sleigh bed.

“If it were only possible,” Kaya gushed, “I would love to live inside a cell. It’s like a mini city!” Kaya’s eyes widened, her voice rose. “I like the Golgi Apparatus the best because they are the ones that receive messages and package them.”  They turn unusable things into usable things for the rest of the cell. To love most the packaging step, in between creation and function, is kind of beautiful I think. 

Kaya said that her super power would be kissing her elbow. I knew why. It’s because we read a story that said if you could kiss your elbow then you had fairy blood and you’d be able to fly. I asked her why she didn’t just say her superpower would be flying and she looked at me like I was stupid and said, “C’mon, it’s no fun that way.”

Kaya said if she had to pick a Disney princess she’d be Ariel. And no, not because of Prince Eric or because of her singing or ability to breathe underwater…she’d be Ariel because she would want the chance to talk to jellyfish. “Because they’re so cute!”

Once a bird died near our house and we all got squeamish staring at the small pile of feathers and blood and beak, but Kaya got teary-eyed. She scooped it up with a paper towel, patted its head, and said, “there, there, little guy.”